Saucy Sausage and Eggplant over Polenta and Get out to VOTE!!!

November 4, 2012

If any week is screaming for comfort food, it is this one.  In my life, I am facing a grading deadline (I teach high school science when I’m not cooking), parent conferences crammed into any and every spare hour, and a nail-biter of an election.  Yes, the presidential election has my nerves on end, but honestly the biggest concern on my mind is California’s Proposition 30.

As an educator and parent of children in public schools, I know first hand the drastic cuts that California schools have made over the last five years.  The passage of Proposition 30 does not make things much better, but it prevents further cuts to the already ravaged district budgets.  The other day, a few students approached me about the upcoming elections.  They had engaged in spirited mock democracy in their history classes, their faces aglow with hope and pride in our civic opportunities.  We discussed that our district, backed against the wall, may be forced to end the school year three weeks early (among other extreme measures) if Prop 30 does not pass.   No, these kids did not dance and dream at the thought of a longer vacation, they went gray with the realization they may not be able to finish the year.  They want to attend school.  They know they engage in valuable learning and skill-building at school and that 15 days out of each of their classes puts them at a huge disadvantage.  Every district in California is facing some similar extreme measure.   This is the heartbreak of the school funding crisis.  Yes, economies and tax codes are complex, but when funding is denied to schools, it is the students who lose every time.  School children cannot vote.  It is our responsibility to represent their interests!  So Tuesday, get out to vote.  And if you can read this, thank your parents’ generation who approved taxes to fund the public schools that gave you and your peers the opportunity to learn.

Saucy Sausage and Eggplant over Polenta is a simple, comforting dish with fresh, rich flavors from the Roasted Tomato Sauce with Fennel.  Having a batch of the sauce in the freezer makes this dinner come together in no time.  You could certainly make this dish with your own favorite marinara sauce.  To save time, cook the polenta slow on the stove top, while you put together the sausage and eggplant.  Then sit back, pour a glass of wine, and wait for the election results to roll in…

Please share this post with other voters and lovers of comfort food!

Saucy Sausage and Eggplant over Polenta

serves 4

saucy sausage and eggplant

3/4 pound eggplant

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound Italian sausage

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup Roasted Tomato Sauce with Fennel (or your favorite simple marinara)

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

minced fresh parsley

Dice the eggplant into 3/4 inch cubes.  Sprinkle with salt and place in a strainer over the sink or a bowl.  This will draw the excess moisture out of the flesh.  Start the creamy polenta.

Meanwhile, heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the oil and crumbled sausage.  Cook until the sausage begins to brown.  Rinse off the eggplant to remove the excess salt and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.  Add the eggplant and garlic to the sausage.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir occasionally over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through and the eggplant is soft.  Taste and add more salt and pepper as necessary.

Heat the tomato sauce until steaming.

To serve, spoon creamy polenta over the bottom of a shallow bowl.  Top this with a scoop of sausage and eggplant.  Ladle a scoop of tomato sauce over the top.  Scatter parsley over the dish and enjoy.

creamy polenta

2 cups whole milk

2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup course-ground polenta (grits)

2 tablespoons butter

Heat the milk and water in a medium-sized saucepan until steaming.  Add the salt and butter.  Slowly stir in the polenta while whisking.  Continue whisking over medium heat until the polenta absorbs most of the water.  Then put the pot on the back burner on low.  Stir frequently with a wooden spoon until the polenta is thick and creamy.

Print this recipe:  Saucy Sausage and Eggplant over Polenta

Other comforting dishes:

Biscuit-topped Chicken Pot Pie

Perciatelli and Meatballs

Indian Pork, Potato, and Apple Stew


4 Responses to “Saucy Sausage and Eggplant over Polenta and Get out to VOTE!!!”

  1. sybaritica Says:

    Nice recipe. The sauce with fennel sounds good!

  2. Janice Says:

    Love your recipes and thank you for the student view of this education crisis.

  3. Eileen Says:

    This week is an absolute MUST for comfort food, I totally agree, and this is a prime candidate. And never fear–as a former special ed tutor (and a thinking adult, jeez), I have a yes on 30 on my list of what to vote for. What do you think about 30 vs 38, though? Is 30 superior for some reason?

  4. Hannah Says:

    This is definitely good comfort food! Glad to hear that Prop 30 passed. :)

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